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Humanitarian Exchange No. 49: Unconditional cash transfers: giving choice to people in need

2011 — By Pietzsch S.

This article in Humanitarian Exchange magazine (article begins on page 19) explains how Action Against Hunger has moved towards unconditional cash grants as a food security and livelihoods response in Northern Uganda.

The article describes the technical features of the programme (transfer amount, financial partner, seasonal timing) and presents the results of monitoring and impact evaluation studies.  It raises an interesting finding, in that most beneficiaries’ spending choice diverged from the predicted seeds and tools purchases, as they chose instead to purchase livestock.  The article presents some findings of the impact of this choice on livelihoods and local markets.

The article concludes that the evidence from Northern Uganda indicates that the impact of unconditional cash transfers can be significantly larger than comparable in-kind or voucher projects, because beneficiaries can prioritise expenditure according to their needs and adapt quickly to changes in the local context.